cover image MOON SHADOWS


Nora Roberts, Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan, . . Jove, $7.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-515-13831-3

Loosely connected by their incorporation of the paranormal, this quartet of novellas takes readers, with varying degrees of success, from contemporary Maine to the fantastical land of Callemore, the Scottish Highlands and the 19th-century Cornish countryside. The collection is bookended by its two strongest offerings—"Wolf Moon," Roberts's brisk romance between a female werewolf and the vet who may be able to cure her, and Willman's compelling gothic fairy tale "West of the Moon," which describes what happens when the human and Faerie realms collide. The remaining entries, Gregory's "The Moon Witch" and Langan's "Blood on the Moon," feature stock protagonists (the brave but impetuous heroine, the emotionally scarred, Robin Hood–like warrior, etc.) and stereotypically evil antagonists; in Gregory's offering, a witch and warlock unite to pursue their goal of world domination, and in Langan's, a vicious warlord rapes and plunders his way across the Highlands. These four authors have collaborated on previous anthologies (Once Upon a Midnight; Once Upon a Rose ), so there's a built-in readership for this book. But with its uneven quality and strained integration of the "moon" motif, it isn't likely to be many readers' favorite. (Oct.)